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Deer murdered to protect golf course

The Town of Bedford is killing deer to protect the golf course - in today's THE JOURNAL NEWS :  

Govt contact info follows:

Bedford neighbors reassured about deer kill

(Original publication: March 25, 2005)

A GlenArbor Golf Club representative met with neighbors this week to soothe their concerns over the club's plans to shoot deer that are damaging golf course property.

Some neighbors became alarmed after receiving a notice last month from Bedford officials telling them an adjacent property owner was getting a state Department of Environmental Conservation permit to eradicate the deer and that the killing would be done with a shotgun.

Nearby residents said they were concerned about the noise and safety of the gun blasts.

Two neighbors Debbie and Lawrence Schiro met with golf course superintendent Ken Benoit on Monday. The superintendent outlined a list of safety precautions that will be taken during the planned kill, the Schiros said.

Debbie Schiro, who lives next to GlenArbor, said that among the most comforting assurances Benoit provided was that the shooter would fire toward the interior of the 170-acre golf course property to hit the deer, as opposed to shooting from within the golf course property out toward the neighborhood.

"He (Benoit) couldn't have been nicer," said Schiro, 40. "He definitely put our minds at rest."

GlenArbor's DEC permit, which expires Sept. 30, allows the golf club at 234 Bedford Center Road to kill up to five deer, although they could contact the state agency after reaching that benchmark and ask for permission to kill more, said Wendy Rosenbach, a DEC spokeswoman.

"Our concerns were totally alleviated," said Lawrence Schiro, 47. "We're comfortable with what they're doing."

The permits are granted to kill deer that are considered to be creating a nuisance, such as damaging a property owner's grounds and vegetation.

"We do have nuisance problems, especially in Westchester County, where there's very healthy deer populations," said Rosenbach.

Several GlenArbor neighbors went to the Feb. 15 Bedford Town Board meeting to express concern about the shooting.

The 18-hole golf course bills itself on its Web site as a championship golf course with spring-fed lakes, woodlands and rocky outcroppings. Benoit wouldn't comment this week, and it wasn't clear from the neighbors if the shooting had already begun or when it might commence.

"I think it's a dead issue, because we don't have any conflicts with our neighbors," Benoit said.

Anita Bae, another concerned resident who lives near the golf course, spoke to Debbie Schiro after the meeting with Benoit. Bae said she was happy the golf course was communicating with neighbors about how it was going to handle the kill.

"I'm not a big fan of guns. I don't like the idea of ... hearing gunshots," said Bae, 36. "However, I am much more assured that at least the safety precautions will actually be abided by."

The golf club's property is also the site of a horse trail used by the Bedford Riding Lanes Association. Robert Torre, president of the riding group, said he was initially concerned before speaking with Benoit, adding the superintendent told him the shooting would happen in the evening when no one's riding.

"After talking to this fellow ... I'm very relieved," Torre said last week. "I feel there's no danger whatsoever."

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